It has been predicted that by the end of this year there will be over a million young people (18-24) unemployed with the help of COVID-19, this is higher than the number of young people who were out of a job during the 2008 financial crisis.
This warning comes from the think tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), as it believes that an extra 620,000 young people will be out of work by the end of 2020, with 410,000 young people already being out of work. When these two figures are added together it comes to over a million.
It has been argued that youth unemployment can have a major impact on peoples’ life chances, possibly leading to lower wages, risk of further unemployment and worse health in to later life. IPPR believes that 380,000 young people could be claiming benefits for the last two quarters of this year.
The think tank suggests that the Government should inject £3 billion to help avoid this dilemma and make sure everyone under the age of 25 is either in education, training, apprenticeships or a job.
IPPR has said the Government needs to take action on four fronts to help this situation, they are:
- Apprenticeships, to establish a £1.5 billion fund to help subsidise the wages of young apprentices in England. On the 03/06/20, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said that a possible way to alleviate the problem of COVID-19 induced unemployment amongst younger people is to guarantee apprentices, which will in turn boost the economy.
- Welfare reform, Universal Credit should be reformed to offer greater one-to-one advisory support for young people to move in to education or training where moving in to work is not possible or desirable.
- Education, to encourage more young people to stay in education and to extend maintenance loans to under-24-year-olds.
- Right start fund, this would create at least 140,000 new jobs for young people who are still claiming benefits after six months. These jobs would last for six months and be focused on being green.
Harry Quilter-Pinner, senior research fellow and lead report author at IPPR, said:
We face an unemployment crisis in the UK. Our analysis suggests youth unemployment could more than double by the end of the year. This would be a huge waste of talent and potential. It doesn’t have to be like this.
That’s why we are calling on the government to step in to guarantee all young people either a funded place in education, an apprenticeship or a job. This will require the state to support businesses to take on young people, just as it has supported them to retain adults through the furlough scheme.
This is the right thing to do for not just for young people but also in order to drive economic recovery.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary, at the TUC said:
Without urgent action, the UK may be on the brink of a youth unemployment crisis.
Research from the TUC has shown workers that young workers face the highest risk of unemployment during the coronavirus crisis. Those aged 25 and under are three times more likely to work in sectors where jobs are most at risk.
We need a job guarantee scheme, to stop those without work becoming long-term unemployed — and this scheme must prioritise young workers.
Not only will this prevent young people from being left to face the misery of long-term unemployment, but by ensuring young workers have decent jobs, the Government can help the economy to build back faster and stronger.
Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, chair of the Education Select Committee, said:
Now is the time to rocket-boost apprenticeships for young people, giving them the opportunity to climb the ladder of opportunity and, at the same time, meeting the skills needs of our nation.
With unstinting determination and policy, we can recast our skills priorities to place apprenticeships front and centre – to create a new apprenticeship culture as the lifeblood of training and employment.